How to be direct, but not offensive?


By: MJ Gonzales | Executive Chronicles

As much as we don’t want to hurt other people, sometimes the only choice we have is either to suffer in silence or be direct and face the consequence.  In reality we don’t need a mind-boggling situation to make a choice as every day, during our working hours, we encounter difficult people.  If socializing with them means everything for your career and life, then how to be direct without being offensive?

They say that “no man is an island.” We experience life from people we love and hate because through them we have meaningful moments. However, there’s also saying that life is not “a bed of roses.” In the office, we work with different individuals who are possibly rude, ignorant, opinionated, and bossy or someone we dislike because they look like villains with evil plans. Being direct to the point is not only for naturally frank, it’s for everyone who wants harmonious professional relationship.   What straightforward individuals enjoy?

  • They exude the “don’t mess with me” aura – it has disadvantages, but overall it brings positive outcomes too because others straighten up before facing them. Thus, they use of flowery words silly jokes and lame excuses are no-no for them, but factual and relevant information.
  • They get what they want without the long cuts– Time is an essential element that if you wait and see before clarifying things, you are wasting it. If straightforward people may endure consequences, at least they do or get what they want and move forward faster.
  • They can help to create practical and solid solutions – Isn’t it wiser to talk with critics than to acquaintances who just saying “blah-blah” statements? It’s hurtful to listen in their analysis, but they may just helping you out to become open-minded and see realities you overlooked. In the end, they actually giving tough love, motivation, and real solutions to your real problems.

According to Macmillan dictionary, direct is “saying what you really think in a very clear and honest way.” Thus to begin with, there’s nothing wrong in being direct especially if we follow the rule “honesty is the policy.” Perhaps it only produce initial negative impression because of delivery and timing, but there are ways to be direct and at the same time, diplomatic.

envy pixabayIn her article on Career Girl Network, Dr. Belinda Chiu (a social change strategist, coach, and facilitator) shared that it’s good to establish ground rules, imparting your intention, and try to listen intently when you’re being direct to a person.  Chiu added that informing others about your concern and the purpose of your conversation will help them to understand why you’re just being direct.

“…Not pausing to listen and interrupting is a signal to the other person that he or she is not important or what he or she has to say is not valid. Suspend your judgment and truly stop to hear,” Chiu, who also advised to become open, about the importance of listening in the conversation.